Over 40 New Beginnings Contest

They say life begins at 40, and we all agree!

We asked you to nominate someone you thought deserved recognition for their Over 40 Beginnings. You did!  We received over 100 nominations – each of them awe inspiring.  It was a tough job to narrow it down to the top 3, but now it’s up to you and your friends to make the final call by voting for your favorite.  Please review the 3 candidates below and then vote.  Some amazing person will be winning a weeklong getaway at The Oaks at Ojai.  Relaxing by the pool, eating calorie conscious meals (and we do the dishes!), fun fitness classes…ahhh, they have earned this!

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Meet the candidates and read the actual nominating stories below then Vote for Your Favorite!  Share so your friends can vote too!

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Nelly Kamel #Over40NewBeginnings


I am not an eloquent writer, but each time I see this it screams my mom’s name.

My mom gave her whole life to her 3 children and her husband along with her sick parents and two sisters who were going through hard times themselves. She never complained and sacrificed everything for her family.

She never did anything for herself.  Not a thing.  No manicures or hair salons, no time alone or even help around the house.  She did it all and did not even think about herself.  I always yearned for her to have more comfort and self-care.  To pamper herself a little.

Over the past 20 years, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer – twice.  And how fitting that by the time this is being voted on it will be Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  The first time, she struggled a lot.  My dad was working 12+ hour days.  We were young.  I was about 15 and knew little about what was going on, but my little sister was only 6.  So my mom did not let anyone see her struggle.  She took it all on and kept going.

Two years ago she was diagnosed with breast cancer again.  This time she had a mastectomy and reconstruction.  Three painful surgeries and many months of recovery.  Her attitude was good.  Amazing really.  She had been through so much.

I feel like something really changed in her through this experience.  She got her teeth worked on – something she had been putting off for over 20 years.  She got the confidence to smile more.  She got the motivation to move more – to swim and walk and play.

This year I, her oldest daughter, got married.  She came to my bachelorette party and danced with us.  She bought herself the most gorgeous (and not cheapest) dress.  She even got highlights in her hair.

The picture I am attaching is my absolute favorite picture of my mom ever.  It is her belly dancing at my wedding – completely carefree and exuding pure happiness.  She was smiling, laughing and having a good time.  I think she finally overcame and let go and it makes me so happy

I am so happy to see her taking better care of herself these days.  We go out and laugh and swim and play.  She knows what it is to do things for herself…because she deserves it and so much more.  Her #over40beginnings is just getting started.

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Terri Johnson #Over40NewBeginnings

My Sister… The Overcomer

What woman isn’t amazing?  We all are.  We carry the world and our families on our shoulders.  But to do so under extreme circumstances, and then to break out to begin again after 40 to become a healthy, whole person, is to be a courageous overcomer.

My sister, Terri Johnson, found herself pregnant at 17 years of age.  She got married, and by the time she was 24, had four children.   She gave up the thought of going to college and became the best wife and mother she could possibly be!  She raised her children, 4 girls, who have become beautiful, successful women, and she supported her husband’s contracting business by working in the business for over 25 years.

During the recession, they lost their business and their home.  Something else was lost.  Her marriage of 29 years had come to an end.  The dysfunction she had hidden for 29 years had taken its toll.  At the age of 46, with her children now grown, and only her suitcase in hand and her clothes on her back, she left her marriage and began a new journey.  She was now on her own for the first time since she was 17 and had just become an over 40 beginner.

Now was the time to become a healthy new person with a healthy new lifestyle.  She had battled eating disorders for years and her metabolism was out of balance.   Seven years ago, she became a vegan and began eating organic.  She started hiking and exercising.  Since then, she has lost 40 pounds!  She is more fit than she’s ever been and even did a half-marathon with her daughters.

Terri also used her contracting experience to become one of the only successful women in the San Francisco Bay Area working in construction as a project manager.   She is newly engaged and has purchased a home.   She has gained 2 amazing son-in-laws and has 4 wonderful grandchildren.  As an over 40 beginner, she has rebuilt her life!  Her beautiful soul is the same, but it is freer to love 40 times more than before!  I’m so proud of her courage to begin again!

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Heather Goodwin #Over40NewBeginnings

I would like to nominate my friend, Heather Goodwin. Talk about a new beginning! She truly is an inspiration, losing nearly 300 pounds eating a whole food plant based diet. She did this through hard work, commitment, and true tenacity. She’s an inspiration to many, including me. She is warm, encouraging, and willing to help those who find themselves in the same position. As a women on the other side of 40 myself, I’m in awe of her ability to make wholesale change. She’s a wonderful example of reinventing oneself. I would love to see her win this, I know no one who deserves it more. Please vote for my friend, the incredible, inspiring, Heather!

She has “released” about 300 pounds without surgery or pills. It’s all about the food. You will be amazed to hear her journey and you will fall in love with this wonderful woman.  Please, please consider  her!

Heather is amazing, kind and caring toward all and now especially herself!!!  Heather is an inspiration to thousands and that number will dramatically increase as more people discover and learn of her amazing journey. Heather has been sharing her amazing journey publicly (in numerous formats – online, in person and interviews with many organizations). I’m sharing her first youtube video posted on Mar 9, 2015. Her profile picture shows her progress. Heather bravely and generously shares her story. There are simply not enough words to describe my gratitude to Heather and within seconds of listening to her, you will fall in love. Heather is extraordinary.

A single Mother who raised 2 children alone with very little means and is currently battling cancer, she has managed to inspire so many others with her YouTube channel by losing 300 pounds from her highest weight of 468 pounds.  She is about to undergo a serious operation and I don’t think anyone is


  1. Three nominees were chosen from the hundreds nominated in Aug/Sept 2017.
  2. Now it’s time for you to vote for your favorite!  (Ask your friends and family to vote too!)
  3. Winner will be announced on November 1st, 2017.
The fine print:  Only votes on this page will be counted. We must be able to share the #over40beginnings stories and winner on our social media channels.  7 night stay at The Oaks is based on single occupancy in a private room.  Transportation is not included.  Winner will have 12 months to redeem their prize.